State poised to lease oil and gas rights for public lands

May 7, 2012

Protesters are expected Tuesday morning outside of a planned auction of oil and natural gas lease rights on public land.

Lease rights on more than 100 thousand acres of public land will be available in the auction in Lansing.

Mary Uptigrove is the acting manager of the Minerals Management Section of the Department of Natural Resources.    She says much of the land on the auction list is there by the request of the drilling industry.

“They may know…areas where… current development is occurring….and they want to explore for additional development,” says Uptigrove. 

There are some environmentally sensitive public lands in Michigan that are off-limits for oil and natural gas drilling.

The demonstrators are opposed to a practice called fracking.  Fracking involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals into a well under high pressure to extract natural gas.    Opponents say fracking has been linked to a number of environmental problems.